The economy’s rebounding, his approval ratings are ticking up, and the GOP field is a mess. Mark McKinnon and Myra Adams on the president’s odds of a return ticket to the White House.
President Obama’s poll ratings are climbing. And the online prediction market Intrade has Obama at a 58.9 percent chance of winning a second term. Though November 2012 is light years away in political time, as Team Obama regroups in Chicago, they should be optimistic about their reelection prospects. Here are 12 reasons why:
1. Power of Incumbency
In the last 56 U.S. presidential elections, 31 have involved incumbents; 21 of those candidates have won more than one term. Based on these historical odds, Obama has a better-than-67-percent chance of winning reelection. In 2004, voters were not happy with the economy, the Iraq War or President Bush generally, and still he was reelected.
2. Love Story Continues
Though the mainstream media is now sometimes critical of President Obama, he has never faced the extreme 24-hour-a-day derangement that has plagued other recent presidents and potential candidates-to-be. This gentle treatment is worth millions to a campaign.
3. Billion-Dollar Campaign
According to Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post, President Obama’s 2012 reelection effort could be the first campaign to raise $1 billion. Not an unreasonable assumption because he raised $750 million in 2008. Look for the coming campaign to break all fundraising and spending records on both sides.
4. Experienced Campaign Organization
In 2008, the junior senator from Illinois assembled a team of outsiders that defeated the Clinton machine and won the presidency with 365 electoral votes to Sen. John McCain’s 173. With the same Chicago campaign team in place, Obama will benefit from experience and memory; mistakes won’t be repeated.
5. Obama’s Charm Offensive
Let’s face it, Obama knows how to turn it on and win crowds with his oratory. He is personally likable, has an attractive family, and his favorables are climbing. His Real Clear Politics average is at 49.9 percent. That’s comfortably within the zone of the last three presidents to win reelection. At 752 days into the first term, according to Gallup, President Reagan’s approval rating fell to 37 percent. Clinton’s was at 47 percent, and George W. Bush’s was 61 percent. If history is any guide, Obama has nothing to fear at this point from Mr. Gallup.
(Photo by Riccardo S. Savi / Getty Images)
6. Economy is Improving
As the economy goes, so goes Obama's reelection prospects. Yes, this is a potential weakness, but there are signs of hope. And what is most important is not what voters think about the economy at this hour, but rather whether they think it is improving. The stock market is rising, and unemployment is trending downward, albeit too slowly. Consumer spending is up, and 40 percent of Americans say the economy will improve over the next year. The campaign theme may be: He brought us back from the brink.
7. They’ll Be Back
The 2010 midterm voters that swept Republicans into control of the U.S. House, governorships and state legislatures were older, whiter, and more conservative than those who went to the polls in 2008. Despite this “white flight” from the Democratic Party, young voters, more minorities, more women, and generally more liberals will be back in 2012. Though some of the liberal base may hold their nose, they’re not likely to desert the Democratic incumbent in November. And there is no doubt that Obama’s billion-dollar campaign fund will find some way to get his core constituents to the polls.
8. Obama, “The Moderate”
Forty percent of Americans now see the president as a moderate. That’s up 10 percentage points from a year ago. More importantly, 44 percent of independents now call Obama a moderate, up from 28 percent a year ago. If congressional Republicans are viewed as strident and over-reaching, Obama will be well positioned as a moderating force—with or without any Clintonian triangulation.
9. Republican Sparring Match
With no obvious frontrunner at this point, the Republican primary season may drag on and could be very messy. Tea Party support may be torn. And while Republicans debate which candidate is more Reaganesque, Obama will stay above the fray, looking presidential.
10. Neverending Campaign
Organizing for America never stopped working since 2008 and continuously sends targeted emails to its 13 million members. Supporters are asked to volunteer for service projects or call Congress to object to the vote on repealing health care. It’s the presidential campaign that never ended.
11. Hispanic Vote Growing
Obama earned 67 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2008 compared to McCain’s 31 percent. The Five State Voter Project, sponsored by The Hispanic Institute, is under way to increase Hispanic voter participation in five states: New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Florida, and Colorado. Winning all of these states could seal the deal for Obama.
12. Several Paths to 270
There were five key red states that Obama won in 2008—Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, and North Carolina. Obama could lose every one of them in 2012 and still win reelection with 272 electoral votes.
Forty percent of Americans now see the president as a moderate. That’s up 10 percentage points from a year ago.
While the election is eons away, the race at the moment is Obama’s to lose.
Next week, the 12 reasons why Obama could still lose in 2012.
Myra Adams is a media producer, writer and political observer. She was on the creative team with Mark McKinnon that created the now infamous John Kerry "Windsurfing" ad for the Bush 2004 presidential campaign and served on the McCain Ad Council during the 2008 McCain campaign. Myra's website www.TheJesusStore.com contributes all profits to Christian charity.
As vice chairman of Public Strategies and president of Maverick Media, Mark McKinnon has helped meet strategic challenges for candidates, corporations and causes, including George W. Bush, John McCain, Governor Ann Richards, Charlie Wilson, Lance Armstrong, and Bono.
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